Applying Sociological Theories

The object of this paper is to observe and analyze social interactions and gatherings by using sociological theory. Students are free to observe any event, gathering, interaction (parties, religious services, fraternity and sorority and other club events, athletic games, etc.). It will be more difficult to observe people and groups in the socially distanced and masked world that we are now living in, but remember that “social distance” is a sociological concept to begin with and how this pandemic has not so much stopped social interaction but changed it. In other words, work with what you have and the situation you’re in (home life, small circles of friends, jobs at the front line of essential work, and the social events that are still taking place), and you will find opportunities to observe social life.


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Introduction–tell the reader what you are observing and why you chose this particular event or group. This should be one paragraph.

Observation– provided a detailed (“thick”) description of the event, noting its participants (ages, gender, race, ethnicity, class, etc) but most importantly the interactions and “social rituals” you witness. This should be 2 or 3 pages.

Applying Theory– Apply the sociological theory we have discussed in class. Which particular theory (theories) best explains what you observed? Remember to apply theory to the actual and specific actions and behaviors that you observed (don’t just say basketball is a good example of so and so theory because the game stresses solidarity and team spirit). What was it about the particular event you observed that is best explained by the theory (or theories) that you selected? This section can be two or three pages.
Conclusion– here is your chance to sum things up, speculate, and be more general. You should answer the “so what” question. What does your observation and application say about the particular slice of social life that you selected? The conclusion should be one or two paragraphs.

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